No ‘Sha-na-na-na-na-na’

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Television

Michelle Ryan as Jaime Sommers in NBC's Bionic Woman

OK, so it doesn’t have the famously cheesy “bionic” sound effect from the late ’70s version. But the new “Bionic Woman” is sound. And then some.The pilot’s actually been sha-na-na-ing around the internet for a while now, but I waited until it aired Wednesday night. You can watch it here.

The broadcast debut was the No. 1 show of the night for adults ages 18-49, 25-54 and all key adult male demographics, according to preliminary viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.

Here’s one reason why: Katee Sackhoff (of another reimagined ’70s TV icon, “Battlestar Galactica” on the Sci-Fi Channel) is excellent as the prototype bionic woman, Sarah Corvus, who went rogue and now wants revenge against her former handlers. She’s got issues, and she’s awesome.

But the undisputed star of the show is her successor, Jaime Sommers, played by British soap star Michelle Ryan (above). The role was originated in 1976 by Lindsay Wagner, now the undisputed queen of infomercials about bionic beds – er, Sleep Number beds, that is. ”

The Bionic Woman” was the spinoff of “The Six Million Dollar Man” starring Lee Majors.This time around the bionic plot is about more than electronic limbs and sensory equipment; Jaime and her predecessor also have nanoscopic machines living in their bloodstream that provide rapid healing and filter out dangerous substances like tobacco.

I won’t go into any more plot details – you really should explore that on your own. But do yourself a favor and give it a chance. Ryan is electric on screen – no pun intended. Even without the enhanced abilities she moves like a jungle cat and can see right through you. Miguel Ferrer is suitably creepy as the man in charge of the bionic project, and “Grey’s Anatomy” castoff Isaiah Washington joins the cast in next week’s second episode.

As for Sackhoff’s character, I wouldn’t bet against a repeat performance. There must always be two sides to every coin …

Here and there ...

Jayson Peters
Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.